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How To Grow Your Brand Through Influencer Relationships With Faiysal Kothiwala of The Beard Struggle

Faiysal Kothiwala 3:48

So I think it’s more of like, we did it. Okay, here’s the thing. We didn’t go for Hafthor Bjornsson right away. Or we also have his arch nemesis, Eddie Hall, as well as our in our group. So when people think about Ambassador marketing, they think about going to the big guy, let’s go the top guy, and let’s send them an email, send them a DM, and let’s get it done. But we had to build ourselves up to it. It’s almost like stepping stones like stairs that you go up and down. So in hindsight, if we were to do like, kind of go directly to have authority, we didn’t have our own own base, and we didn’t have our social media set up and everything. It wouldn’t be possible, he wouldn’t look at it twice. Because I actually asked him like, one time we actually were in at a shoot a few months ago. And one of the topics that came up was like, Oh, what do you think like, why did you make that decision to go with our brand? Yeah. And he had actually told us that right. So let’s, let’s, let’s back up a little. So we were always kind of as we were growing, we were trying to, you know, make sure that we have like the best people that can represent our brand. And I think this might help for a lot of people that are kind of starting off and growing their businesses. And they’re trying to get into influencer marketing, and they don’t really know what to do. Well, the easiest thing is to go for anybody, essentially somebody that when I say anybody, not anybody, but somebody that kind of is trying on him on social media, who’s trying to grow their brand, and you can see some potential in it like either their engagement is going up, their followers are going up, don’t look at where the influencer is. Now look at where you think he or she might be in the future. And a lot of people that we brought in is when we you know, we didn’t have much of a budget, and we didn’t really have much revenue coming in. We were kind of going after the micro influencers, right? So we were going after micro influencers and kind of, you know, talking to them, guiding them, telling them what kind of content that we want to see, it was almost like a collaborative, like it’s some a lot of people, what they do they think social media influencing is, is I’m going to send you products, I’ll pay you $1,000 and post and post this for me. No, because nine out of 10 times, you’re gonna get something that you cannot use anywhere. Yeah. One thing also to, to remember is when you’re getting someone to do something for you like an influencer, or social media creator, whoever, keep in mind where where else, you can use that media, if it’s not media that you can use and scaling up and your ads on, or something that you can put Well, ads actually are in any of your other social media platforms, then that’s probably not a good piece of content, because doesn’t matter who they are, they’re going to have a capped amount of reach, even if they have 3 million, 4 million followers, and they’re probably have an engagement of less, maybe 2%. Who knows. So what’s more important is that you double down on anything, so hear me I’ve got like little Yeah. So you know, so what you double down on is trying to get that content that you can reuse somewhere else in your paid advertising or your social media, right? Now, once you started getting these guys, and even some of these influencers that we brought on, they had about 20,000 15,000 10,000 followers, and now like two years, three years later with our content and then promoting their own things, because they because these type of people have a growth, perception they like they think they want to they know that we want to grow. And it’s really important to find these like minded people and be able to grow like one example I can give you is one of our influencers name is Thor, not Hafþór Thor when other Thor Yeah, but 33,000 followers when he started, and now he’s up to like 200,000. But like, that was with our support, we went out and did shoots. And we also he also did things on his own, where he would go out and get some professionally shot pictures from photographers they would get, he would get some video clips, he would make you go jump in the ocean and like do a beard. So the you know, one of his Yeah, monumental videos where he went into like the lake and he kind of came up with the whole, like, his beard kind of flapping up, you know, once you if you jump in, you know, if you have a beard, you know, this is jumping in water and you come out your beard has a lot of water. And when you when you move your head upwards, you’ll have this cool effect. And that video was really monumental for him. But he did that on his own, there was nothing to do with beard related or anything related, right? So it’s important if you’re starting off, or if you’re, if you’re mid size to find these people that you can grow with do not, but I personally don’t believe some people do. And we’ve done both brand we’ve sponsored, you know, big, bigger athletes, and we’ve been sponsored, you know, smaller ones, but what we found out is when you have that long term relation and that growth that with them, it’s much more profitable as you scale up, because now they will be that sort of customer group that knows your brand for these people. And also, it’s really important to kind of have a continuously growing relationship where you can kind of lock these contracts in for longer and longer. And it also gives you that sort of trust between them and also that relationship right. And any of our influencers that you see that are on our roster right now we’ve been working with for three, four or five years. Right and sometimes they don’t work out sometimes that’s why when you reach out you have on your contract three month period, your probationary it doesn’t work out they can’t do give they can’t give you a new you’ve exhausted all the ways you can try to prop up the content and it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work move on to the next one and build a relationship around them. So go now fast forwarding to Hafþór so we had a good base of influencers micro and macro. You know some people that had a million and this is the same process can rinse and repeat this over and over again. And we had this whole whole mainframe built of art for guys And then when you went up to Hafþór and you know, you were like, Hey, we sent out an email, right? We sent out an email. And he responded, right? Some people think, Oh, these guys don’t respond, sometimes they do. And he responded, he’s like, and then in conversation, when I told you, I asked him what, you know why he joined the brand, he’s like, you know, what, the first thing I did was, I looked up your page. And I saw that, you know, you guys are cool. You had nice images, you had nice products. And yet, you know, more three, I think, at that time, we had 200,000 followers, I was like, yeah, it’s gonna be a cool brand I work with. And then, you know, once that happened, we just kept talking and, you know, agreed on some terms, and you know, what happened. And then, again, like, it’s really important to make sure that we actually have a specific dedicated person that deals with all our influencers are all ambassadors in terms of like, what we need in terms of content, hey, like, the months pushes this, you know, carbon X, even beard brush, and all that content that’s coming out, it’s going to be specific for that campaign. What that also helps with this, you know, just in case, if right now with the supply chain problem, you guys are getting stock outs, you don’t want to focus on you don’t want the, you know, your influencers. So focusing on products are out of stock, because that doesn’t do anything for you. Yeah, we want to have make sure you have like an email or a guideline sent out to them to like, you know, and be available, right be available to them. Because these guys, you gotta think of them more, they don’t really work for you. Because, you know, it’s not, they don’t you can’t have that relationship with him. Right? It’s more of like, yeah, your partners, right. And I think Chronos does that really well. When you guys work with your, with your clients, you make it? You call them partners? You don’t call them clients? Exactly. Let’s shout out for Chronos they’re just getting back to you. But yeah, so that’s, that’s really important is to, you know, constantly have someone available for them, you know, either whether it’s approving content, you know, giving them guidelines, how to improve, that’s really important. Because if you keep getting content that you don’t like, and you can’t use it, then why would you keep beating your head on? You know, why would you keep beating your head on it, there needs to be ways of constant improvement, constant growth. And when you have a few of them, you’ll find out that if you find these people, they’re very competitive. Like me, in general, I’m a very competitive person. And I guess, like attracts like, they’re competitive within each other. Like, they’re all about helping each other and growing together. And you know, whenever we, you know, have meetups in groups, they’re all cool. But right, they have a competitive draft, like how can I be better than this guy? And how what can I do to not not be better than this guy, but more what can I do to be better and improve, right? So that also comes with that certain type of people that you’re going for. And that that also evolves around revolves around how you set that relationship to move in the direction you want it to move, right?

Joshua Chin 12:54

And I just want to, I just want to give a quick shout out to Thor Thor Rosland went from 30 what to 20-30k followers to two years ago.

Faiysal Kothiwala 13:02

He was at a 30k followers, and I think he’s crazy. Just hitting 200k now.

Joshua Chin 13:08

Yeah, I think he’s just past 200 200 or four just checked. Yeah, 200 Thor Rosland guys could check out.

Faiysal Kothiwala 13:14

And you know, we’re friends, like, literally, I mean, even if we didn’t have this business, that’s how your relationship be spread. Yeah, I’ll call him up. And you’re like, Hey, bro, I’m just working on I need your opinion. And then we’ll go on and talk about everything that’s going on in your life. And he’ll tell me about his kids and everything like that. And that’s how your relationships should be with everyone. And I have that relationship with Hafþór, whether you know, any of our other influencers, because, essentially, it’s all about relationships at this point. Right? Right. And when you have that sort of, you know, go easy, it’s not like the end of the world mentality, that you’re able to come out of this point where you can actually create, create new, innovative ideas, create new innovative products, create new innovative videos, right. So I think one thing that also sets us apart is if you check out our videos that we do with the Vikings, and everything’s fantastic, it’s it’s, it’s from these areas of like, Hey, I had an idea, let’s let’s do this. Let’s get a writer and let’s write this, and they’ll come up. So I think that’s the number one thing is that, you know, don’t pay your influencers per post. You know, yeah, try to establish a relationship with ongoing thing and let them know that this is not a part time thing. I want to get any of these relations. My My goal is anytime we bring anybody on, is I want to be your partner for the next four or five years, six years, 10 years, whatever it is, and even if we’re not a part of their you know, this brand anymore, we’re still friends. We can still do. Right. And I think any successes of any relationship should be on that the way Yes. Or the way that you, you know, are Yeah, that’s great. Yeah.

Joshua Chin 14:58

It’s so cool. On his profile says I shit lightning. I should like that everyone else has a, like a really serious tag. I think Hafþór, The Mountain. That’s his nickname Jon’s. Oh, you have Jujimufu on that. All right that yeah, on last year. Jujimufu me and I shit lightning. Yeah. Jujimufu, how you talk to me about that that relationship Jujimufu how is he? Like, is he actually like, the way he is on the videos and stuff?

Faiysal Kothiwala 15:35

Yeah, no, he’s, he is like that. He’s, he has a lot of energy. Definitely. But again, that comes again comes down to you know, and he’s a super nice guy. He’s a super friendly nice guy is awesome. And like, even with him, we have that relationship going. Right. And, and also another thing is that, you know, once you know, pick up a bigger influencer, it’s a lot easier to pick up other ones, right? Because now Yeah, yeah, the credible credibility to you snowballs, right? So as the as a word of advice to anybody that’s either starting off or, you know, thinking about going to an influencer, sort of, really a way of doing business, always start off with, like, you know, people that you can build a brand with. And then you can, as you grow as your revenue increases, your profits increase, always look to grow that side of it, to get somebody that, you know, fits the brand, don’t get, because we made the mistake, right. Last year, we started editing it all, but all kinds of I learned from my mistakes. And, you know, it always goes back to my one belief that, you know, that’s what it was, how it should be any relationship should be a frame like that. And if your idea is to kind of go all out and just get every influencer, it’s not going to work out. Nine out of 10, times I think.

Joshua Chin 16:51

Faiysal, how do you manage these relationships at some point there? There you have on your on your sites on the ambassador’s page, you have 2-4-6-8-10-12, 12 influencers? And you have a, there’s actually a couple more.

Faiysal Kothiwala 17:06

There’s actually a couple more, there’s actually more because we haven’t really updated that section of the website yet. Exactly. Have what one in one, one individual staff that’s dedicated to that very thing, managing that relationship. Initially, when you when I started, it was me, right? Right. A lot of the relationships, I still, like manage at a point where you know, it’s more, you know, I like to know what’s going on. But of course, the end of the day, there’s somebody that’s in charge of those relationship management, like day to day stuff, like new products are gonna go out what the campaign is going to be what the email is going to be going out to them, all that’s handled by one designated person, and that that person also takes care of our social media, like if that’s something you guys are looking to do. Right? There’s there’s a, there’s a overlap in sort of social media management, because good pay someone just to do social media management, that’s not really a full time. Not really, yeah, doesn’t really make sense for them to be paying them to post right. And this is getting towards attrition. So that’s why it’s if you’re looking for a hybrid person who runs your social media, but it’s also trying to bring in new influencers and also manage those relationships. Now that becomes a full time thing.

Joshua Chin 18:25

Right. Makes sense. So what would that person’s title be in that case?

Faiysal Kothiwala 18:31

For that position?

Joshua Chin 18:32


Faiysal Kothiwala 18:33

I believe it’s social with I can’t remember. I think we made this up ourselves. Influencer manager, social media, influencer manager, influencer manager, probably.

Joshua Chin 18:46

I just want to latch on to that point, that the fact that you made up that, that role. I presume that that’s part based off what the company needs, in part based off the person’s strengths.

Faiysal Kothiwala 19:00

Well, exactly. I mean, anything in your company, a lot of the times when it comes to ecommerce, you’re gonna find out there’s not one cookie cutter. Yeah, that really fits any reason. So we just well, we just make it up. I’ll give you an example. We needed a we needed somebody to formule ourr products and I said, Let’s hire cosmetic scientist. That’s the title we created and we made sure that they fit all the blocks that they’re they have a science degree and they’re a scientist and we made that so a lot of times you’re gonna find an ecommerce is because it’s so new. Like you’ll you’ll even find it in a lot of these forums where you when it’s gonna say like, what industry are you in and you can’t really find that industry. And the closest you can find is like retail or something that you’ll never be able to do this because it is such a new industry, that there’s not really titles now there are actually you’ll see like social media coordinator or Um, you know, marketing? What do you call it? I guess it’s media buyer medium. Yeah, media paid media, age, whatever it is, right. Email Marketer marketing? Yeah. There’s like, there’s new roles that I guess in Chronos, Josh, you probably do the same thing, right?

Joshua Chin 20:18

Yep. Wherever he is, we kind of do, especially for new roles, where you have no prior experience and on whether it even exists in the first place. So what I tend to do in situations like that is, I would build a what we call a job scorecard. And it would end up in a scorecard, it would define what the purpose of the role is, it may not have a title, but it’s going to define what the role is supposed to do and accomplish. And the KPIs that measure the success of the role, the objectives and responsibilities of that role. And then the skill sets that are needed. And it’s that it’s associated score, like we scored between one to five, like for instance, for, for a copywriter, you need to have extremely good. Well, obviously copywriting skills. So that’s a five, right? Yeah. But you don’t necessarily need to be super analytical. And so that can be scored at a three, where it’s, you’re just it’s just a step. Yeah.

Faiysal Kothiwala 21:26

You’re not world class, except me that after I would love to see for sure. Yeah, there’s nothing that’s really interesting. Yeah, we’re not doing but I think we can always learning something new.

Joshua Chin 21:38

Exactly. I mean, that’s, that’s when we kind of circumventing the whole idea of like, I don’t know what title this, this fits. And I’ll bring that to a recruiting partners externally and internally, with two full time recruiters. And I’ll ask them, so what do you think about this? Does this even exist as a role? And sometimes they’re gonna go like, nah, this, these are two separate roles. And I’ll be like, Okay, so let me look them up. This makes sense. Yeah. And you’re like, yep, that that’s something I can take to the market and start looking for candidates. So that’s, that’s often the process of learning, especially as entrepreneurs, we kind of think that this is easy. If I were to do it, I 100% can make make it happen. But there are two issues with that. One, we often overestimate what underestimate the work that’s needed. And two, we often overestimate the availability of talent that’s in the marketplace. And sometimes people take a certain path in your career, where they’re super specialized in certain aspects of function. And that doesn’t give them exposure to the other parts of the job that you need. Let’s, let’s talk a little bit about your, your background Faiysal. Before beard struggle, so you start beard struggle in 2015. What do you do before that? And what gives you the idea to start a men’s grooming company?

Faiysal Kothiwala 23:05

Yeah. So before that is actually the first time well, before that, I was a purchasing clerk at a health care facility where, you know, we were buying, you know, medical products, like I was essentially the clerk that just looked over if the prices were okay, like it was more of like a, I would say more of an administrative role. And before that, I was actually a forklift driver. And the reason why I’m mentioning before that is because now that we have warehouses in two warehouses and Ghana, UK, those skills came in handy. Right. So do you still have a license? Yeah, I do. I don’t have the license anymore. But I was still driving the forklift. Because we weren’t we Okay, so to make more make more sense, in context, I started I started the business in my parent’s garage, right? There’s a pictures of it. There’s, like a, like a basement and there’s like a garage next to it. And we started kind of like, in there. So when we went into a warehouse, they weren’t really people that in that were working there that had the skills of like, you know, forklift driving or anything like that, except for me. So, at the beginning, I was the only forklift driver in the warehouse. And then we hired more people to do that. Slowly. But no, so my, my, my background comes nothing when it comes to ecommerce or running a business or anything like I don’t have the, the, you know, the technical, know hows or anything. It was more of like, I had a dream. You know, I had a dream that I wanted to do something that, you know, I could I feel like I’m making a difference and I was solving a problem or I was helping in some way whether said Helping someone, you know, was a problem. And more than that, I wanted to have something that I could have the freedom and you know, to do whatever I want to do and be able to travel and be able to kind of like, enjoy. I think what I was the now that I think about it, the number one goal was probably something that would make me happy, right to kind of go to work. Because when I was working the job before, you know, The Beard Struggle, I was, you know, not the best employee, I was going in late, falling asleep at my desk. I wasn’t, you know, you wouldn’t want to hire me if I was interested in sort of those type of roles. Right? Yeah, I was that character. And but that with that also came with, I had a lot of sort of creativity as all these ideas I wanted to do. And, you know, I know one day just kind of, you know, I was buying these books, and I was watching these classes in his courses, these videos online and learning how to do things at the same time, there’s Shopify that just came up, and I was dragging and dropping things on the website. And at that time, we didn’t know what I didn’t know what paid advertising was or influencer management or anything, right. I just liked posting memes on Instagram, and then a bunch of people would like it, right. And you could actually see, if you go to The Beard Struggle Instagram, right now, you can actually see a lot of that kind of carrying over from when it started, where, you know, I had a common belief where one thing I think brands do really wrong these days is they use social media as a selling tool. It’s not really that it’s, you know, people don’t come on Instagram, or TikTok or Facebook to buy a product, create, they want to buy or to go to Amazon, or they’ll go to Google in their store, right there on Instagram, because they’re bored, you know, they’re in that state of they want to be entertained, they want to laugh, they want to share, they want to share something with someone, or they want to, you know, learn something new. Right, that’s the only point they’re not there to buy your product. So anybody thinking that, you know, I’m just gonna post a bunch of pictures on my social media and something’s gonna happen, you’re not going to grow, you’re not going to get people to like, you’re not going to get people to buy from you, right? So you want to give them some sort of value, whether it’s the form of humor, or education, or in the form of something they can share with somebody, right? And what that does is that will almost set your social media on fire, right? They’ll be like, oh, yeah, this is a cool page, I want to see more of this, I want to laugh more, I want to share more stuff with my wife, or my girlfriend, or whoever it is, right? Or I want to, I want to, I want to learn more about this stuff. So I’m going to hit them a follow. And I’m going to, I’m going to be in that in their funnel right in there, whatever. So that’s why people follow you, they don’t follow you, because you have the best best products or anything like that, like that’s very rare. And you’re not going to really be able to grow your reach. And you have to work with the algorithm, right? Like, at the same time. That’s really important, right? So people, you know, follow you because they like you or they’re you make them laugh or something like that. And that’s how you that’s what I believe personally, how you should be running your Instagram or your TikTok or your Facebook or wherever YouTube or whatever it used for right, is that you should be giving at least some education or some laughs or something. So that’s kind of what we did in our strategy. And that’s what was helping us at that time. People were following us liking us and like, we didn’t make sure to keep it also on brand that’s really important. Like we were doing a lot of beard memes. We weren’t doing like a bunch of random memes like rounds. Yeah, yeah. Now we do more sort of Viking related stuff. You know, it hits a lot. larger audiences stuff. Yeah, we’re doing beard stuff. So what would happen is like, who’s gonna follow you? Who’s going to share that stuff with your wife? Like, Oh, who’s going to share that with who’s going to who’s going to comment? And that’s not going to be non beard people, right? It just makes sense. So at that time, I didn’t know anything, I just knew that our follower count was coming, and we were gaining more traction. So you know, and then I was doing sort of market research, kind of like finding out like, you know, know, market research, but I would say, talking to these people, I was actually DMing them, each and individual one of these guys, like people who showed interest would be like, people who commented on your post or something, right? I would just message them and reach out to them Be like, Hey, you struggling with your beard? Are you like, Do you have any problems? Like, yeah, it’s like, yeah, you know, my beard gets dry sometimes. I’m like, Yeah, me too. And that’s why I created this product. And I think you guys should try it. I think you should try it. And then I will send them a link to the Shopify link where I Yeah, you know, you know, got this product created. I created this product and those pictures that shot in my living room. Right, and, you know, I would have That conversation where there’d be like some sort of service trust built and people would actually go in and buy this, right? Buy this product is that simple? Then that’s where I got my first customers was when I didn’t know anything. Like I knew how to run a meme page. And yeah, I knew how to talk to people where, you know, I just go and ask them questions and get them to see if they want to try our product. And they would.

Joshua Chin 30:24

That that is that’s fascinating is between your your background and in your own words, being a terrible employee, to starting a little sign of a project that you’re just curious and interested in to scaling that project and taking taking that project beyond the kind of a side hustle type of a thing to the business that it is today. What’s What’s that? What changed? Was it intentional that you’ve built what you’ve built today? Or was that just by, by, by momentum or chance?

Faiysal Kothiwala 31:05

I think it was more a little bit of both, right? Because, see, when I started the business, a lot of people, what they think about is that I’m going to start a company, I’m going to quit my job and, you know, do all that. But like, the problem with me is maybe I would have gone that route. But when I started, I actually was not living. I think that’s one of the reasons why I kind of changed into and I needed to create something and I wanted to have like some sort of way that I would be able to have freedom and be solving a problem. Yeah, so I was actually about $20,000 in debt. And that’s from credit cards. And it’s not, it was like bad spending like it was, you know, going, going out to eat and going out with my friends and right. Just in that in that way of I was wasting a lot of money back then. Yeah. And I had to work because if I didn’t work, who would pay those debts? Right, right. So at that same time I started on Shopify. And I think one thing about Shopify, it’s easy is because it’s only $79 A month when you when you start, right. And you can do a lot of the stuff that you want to do and put your product up and then, you know, connect your bank account and it would work, right. Yeah, if you can sell some products. So that’s what was kind of like, I had to keep my job. And I also had to keep working at The Beard Struggle. But you know, it’s also like a safety thing. Like, oh, you always think like, if this doesn’t work out, right? Like I get it, you want to go all in, but I’m not really a fan of going all in right away. And it touches to your point where you say side hustle. Yeah, it was my side hustle, essentially, where I would work from 730 in the morning to 3:30pm get some food into me start working from 430 all the way to midnight, or one or two o’clock in the morning. And be building a brand. Right? Like, yeah, have your nine to five. And that’s that’s what a lot of people get stuck. Well, I have obligations, I have family, I have rent to pay. Well, did you have $20,000 in debt? And then you also have to pay rent and still have did you have all that? Because I mean, these end of the day, there are excuses, right? Yeah, these these are excuses. And I think a lot of that comes from, you know, I don’t know where it comes from. But for me, it was more about, you know, stop making, stop making excuses. And just do the work, right, it’s important, like just do the work, and the rest of it will start getting taken care of right. And doing the work is not just doesn’t mean working on your business. doing the work means that you have to actively engage in trying to learn new skills, whether it’s email marketing, whether it’s, you know, running paid advertising, running Google ads, whatever it whatever it is, you have to learn a little bit of everything. Like for me that one key advice, I would say for me, like if you’re going to take one advice for me, I would say that is before you start looking for an agency or if you start before you start looking for someone to do something for you always take it on a test, run yourself and learn. Learn how everything works. Because once you learn how things work, you’re better able to understand if the person or the other agency, whether it’s the media buyer is performing the best they can perform. And that’s where you should also have a very strategic partnership when I think again, when it comes to Chronos is being able to speak the language that’s really important speaking the language because if Yep, your email agencies telling you something else, and you don’t have no clue about what they’re talking about your spirit, your spirit, nobody you can throw as much money as you want to it as possible. You’re not going to get the results. So again, do the work. Learn as much as you can about it. And then as an entrepreneur, you got to think about the vision So you find somebody that can take that on for you, which will allow you to focus on other parts of the business and growing that part, when you find that part, find someone that can do that job, either as good as you’re almost as good as you. Or even better than you write three levels to that, and give that over.

Joshua Chin 35:22

And now you know what good looks like. And that’s super important. I realized that hiring or hiring for or for function or hiring an agency for role that you don’t know what good looks like, is really difficult. Because they can bring any sort of metrics and results and tell you that it looks it’s good, it’s great, and you wouldn’t be able to tell. And that’s, that’s a, that’s a really good point now. Faiysal, you started the the business true pure, hard work and hustle. And I see some similarities in those stories. I start my business, while having a full time job, a full time internship, juggling courses in school, and doing a couple of other things in the side as well. And building Chronos at the same time. Now, what drove me was the little wins and successes that kind of affirmed that I was on the right path. So what I did was, at the beginning, I wasn’t getting paid, I was just pitching the idea to a bunch of different people. And my pitch was pretty simple. It was, hey, I just learned this new skill. It’s pretty cool. It’s called email marketing. And if you’re doing it right, you should be making 10 to 20% of your revenue back then, through through email. If you’re not, you have nothing to lose, why not? Give me a shot, I’ll do it for you. For free. No cost at all. All I ask for in return is to give me the space and time to experiment. And give me a testimonial. If you felt that I did a good job. And tell tell tell your friends about me. So that’s what I did for a good good four to six weeks, just doing that not getting paid. And clocking in like crazy hours, I was waking up at like 5am, sleeping at 11pm When I was absolutely just destroyed, and just repeating the cycle over and over again. To I couldn’t take no more. And that’s what you did. You worked from 730 to three, three and 330 start work again, from 430 till midnight and repeating the cycle over and over again, I think that’s what people don’t realize is that the number of hours that it takes to get something off the ground? Yep. People seeing the stuff that you’ve built today, they don’t see the stuff that you’ve put in for years.

Faiysal Kothiwala 37:53

You’re definitely you always have to hustle harder at the beginning. You have to always be the hardest working person in the room. At the beginning, you still do but later on. But you know, later on, you can have you have team members you can rely on. And then you focus more on the vision and the direction of you know, and where you where you see it going. Right, exactly where you start. But at the beginning, you’re putting in the rough lot, you know, a lot of that hard hours are long hours. And you have to be the hardest working person on your team. If you absolutely even if your team includes just you.

Joshua Chin 38:31

No excuses. Yeah, yeah. And so here’s my question. Faiysal, what drives you? And what drove you back when you first got started? Versus what drives you today? How has it changed over time?

Faiysal Kothiwala 38:47

I think it’s pretty much has probably stayed the same. Like, I think the number one thing that, you know, I’m always doing and I’m always trying to do is learn, right, learn as much as possible. And I’m always, you know, a big fan of the power of one, you know, being one person better every single day, in your business or in your life or anything, right? Like how can I be better and that’s something I have core values sort of, in our core value of our team is like, even when a piece of work is submitted for approval or anything like Hey, first question, was this 1% better than the last time you did it? If the answer is no, then you go back to the drawing board and make it better, right. And it’s about constant improvements, right? Little improvements, every little day, little little improvements. You’ll start seeing big improvements right? And touching back to kind of what Josh was saying. Those little wins, those little wins are important to keep you motivated, right? Yeah, like when I got that first sale after DMing somebody and yeah, the hell this shit works. I was like, it actually works. Like you could do this and I was just like, you can make money While doing this, and you know, you’re doing good for the world, and you’re solving a problem, and that just kind of got my mind running, right, I’m like, there’s more we can do this, you know, and now there’s so many ways and I think now, there’s bots for Instagram DMing. Now you can set up. Yeah, all kinds of things. Right? And messenger and I mean this that’s, that’s, that’s where the grassroots approach and I’m, I’m curious to see if that still works. Like, you know, if somebody wants to try it out and shoot me or Josh a message and see if it works, let us know. What’s the best strategy?

Joshua Chin 40:36

I know, I know. That’s, that’s a that’s a lost art. The the net? That’s a real hustle. I mean, DMing everyone? What’s the name of the the tool? Do you know of any? Auto DMing tools?

Faiysal Kothiwala 40:53

I think minichat does it. Minichat has this new feature with I don’t know how well it works. But it’s, it’s an Instagram, Instagram bot, not a bot, but a Instagram. Automation, that’s the word not a bot. Where it allows you to kind of set up, we just actually set this up the other day, where it kind of set gives you three menu items, you can actually you know, choose which one you want to text. And then there’s like a, like a canned response that goes out. You could also have another thing is like, if you’re gonna go down to the DMing route is an old thing. I don’t know if people still do it. If you still want to go there’s a feature on Instagram that lets you save your responses that so there’s like hotkeys where you can just paste that and it’ll be a one response that goes out? Yeah, yeah, it’s more. There’s a lot of different ways now that, you know, you can reach people now I think SMS has been a huge one for us. And it seems to be a big win for everybody. Yep. And that ties into email marketing. That’s right, as well. And I think you guys offer that service, as well.

Joshua Chin 42:06

That’s right, check out Chronos.agency to learn more. What’s, what’s the what’s one tool in your business that you couldn’t live without? software tool, anything that you that you personally use?

Faiysal Kothiwala 42:23

I think Josh, this is a loaded question here. Klaviyo he has where he wants to know Klaviyo is deaf Klaviyo is probably I mean, I think it’s it’s probably your still email when people say email is dead, it’s not dead. Because the you know, it’s literally the way to actually bring bring back your customers retain your customers and as well as set up new customers to join in, because I think it comes down like one of our most work one of our most important flows. And I think it’s one of the ones you guys set up. It’s the one that gives you a coupon, right? Yep, 10% discount, but that’s not the coupon because not everybody converts from the top email, right? So after that, there’s going to be emails that go out to you telling you about, you know, social proof reviews, there’s going to be emails that gonna tell people about the brand emails that gonna tell about like our charity initiatives that we’re running as a brand, you know, other ways, like, it gives you the whole picture. And it’s almost like a slow, like, seven day approach to it. Like, you know, once a customer up, gets them ready to buy that that itself is worth gold, right? And it’s very important. Even if you run paid advertising, you’re like, Hey, yo, I’m just direct to consumer and I want to bring the customer in. Yes, but you’re leaving a lot of money on the table there by not getting that email not getting that SMS from them. I mean, that phone number from them, because they definitely don’t know when people are going to be buying right? They might be maybe they might, they may have clicked on your ad because it’s Father’s Day in June. And people pay you be surprised people plan that way ahead. They’ll be like saving posts, they’re gonna be like for getting on the email list for all the brands that they like and when they’re ready before Father’s Day to by doing that when they see that email with your irresistible offer. They are going to convert right and correct that’s why email is probably one of those tools that we don’t want to you know I would say software whatever you call it, it’s live without

Joshua Chin 44:36

with me it’s pretty retargeting essentially yeah really cheap retargeting

Faiysal Kothiwala 44:42

and no effort. And I think that’s also in comes to scaling up right scaling, you’re gonna need emails, you’re going to need your SMS you’re going to need Yep, you know, those are the two main things you’re going to really need.

Joshua Chin 44:53

Right you need all lined up to make sense on the acquisition front, with with costs going up and up. and more.

Faiysal Kothiwala 45:01

I never know, right? I mean, we seen our acquisition cost double right since last year. Double Yeah. And it just keeps on going up. And I think I just I read an email from somebody that said, like, it’s acquisition, a paid advertising is at an all time high right now, like it was harder than it is now to acquire a new customer. Yep. And that should scare everybody, right? Because your life has just become harder. But on the flip side, you just have to become a better marketer, right, you have to be doing all these things where it’s like trying to get that email as soon as possible, you know, setting them on a journey of you know, being able to ease their mind into buying. Also, figure out how to increase your ARV with giving an order bumps or free gifts or whatever, whatever way you can tack to like whether your tactics, increase your cart value, because that’s going to help your acquisition cost that has just jumped up. Easier to take it on the chin, right. Because if you’re selling a product, that’s gonna, you know, if you’re selling a product, that’s $40, and you’re paying $35, to acquire customer, you’re losing money, right. And I think exactly the whole, you know, this would be the ecommerce profit, or the ecommerce loss podcast if we did that.

Joshua Chin 46:25

Yeah. And it’s, that’s interesting thing about because the offset of that the cost through email, and SMS plays a huge part in the sustainability of that scaling effort. Which gives you the opportunity to kind of lower your need for capital, because it kind of rolls back in to acquiring the next customer. And that’s,

Faiysal Kothiwala 46:54

that’s your number one thing, because, again, using the same example, if you’re, let’s just say that you had your email and your SMS, put it in play is wonderful. Even if you paid $35, for that $35 product, and you lost money at the first order. You could have their email and an SMS or whatever it is, and you could be selling them the next product. So let’s a lot of people you see do this, where they give you a sample kit or sample product, and it’s almost a considered a loss leader, or they’re making very minimum profit breakeven, whatever it is, right? Because we know that they’ll be able to convert a percentage of that to make a bigger order. And that bigger order is going to be subsidizing that first purchase. Because the second one, you didn’t really pay anything to bring that customer back, really, it was an SMS or five cents SMS or an email, right. And that’s what you essentially paid to bring them back, it was nothing. So that’s when it comes to owning your own traffic becomes really important. If that’s the approach you’re gonna go and with rising ad cost, that is going to be more crucial than ever to have that dialed in. Like making sure that your emails, don’t put out emails for the sake of it. You make sure your emails are converting, are they converting at you know, 10% 15% 20%? Well, how do we make this better? And I think nobody’s better than Josh, at least explaining how your mainframe works when you’re sending an email when you’re testing it.

Joshua Chin 48:22

Absolutely, it’s it’s a process, man, it’s a it’s not a set set at one time. And that’s it kind of a thing. It’s a study of the data and metrics that makes that makes a difference. And then kind of shifting gears and course correcting along the way. A lot of people asked me about best practices and what what’s your go to framework for a welcome series or abantecart series and there is a kind of go to starting point, based on like, many, many, many iterations of testing. But what ends up happening is that for every brand, it kind of changes and shifts based on the situation, how long the consideration period is, what the current event of the month is like right now, what products are being pushed out. That all plays a part in how automations are being built and what needs to change along the way. But we can go on and on with with that. That’s what I nerd out about. The Beard Struggle, Faiysal, what’s next? What’s in store for you? What can people expect in the coming years?

Faiysal Kothiwala 49:32

So, next well, interesting next month, we actually are expanding into the skincare line. So we are launching a brand fun, it’s called The Skin Struggle. And we’re tapping into sort of the men’s grooming industry where it’s coming to are like skincare creams and moisturizers, face washes and exfoliators and you know, cleansing bars, things like that where So we can provide sort of the same value or even more. Yeah, for that we’ve we hired a cosmetic scientist, as I said earlier, and she’s been working on it for almost a year now. And we’re, it’s a little bit over a year now. And it’s a process. But we’re finally excited about kind of what we created in terms of the products, the branding, the everything, and we’re really excited to kind of see that through now. So we have that coming. For the next next month, actually, so fantastic. In terms of year, it’s the same thing. We’re looking, you know, we’re looking to kind of, you know, we’re taking a different approach this year, like last year, what we did was kind of launch a lot of products and kind of see what stuck, but this year, we’re kind of launching products with a motive. And I think that’s something you can I take from my learning, learning experiences that don’t just launch a product for the sake of launching a product, make sure that product is actually something that you is innovative, or you know, and it’s easier said than done, because I know how hard it is. But yeah, it’s don’t try to launch a product for the sake of launching and launch it because there’s something because imagine, you start a brand and your your idea is that you’re gonna launch. I don’t know what it is skincare, I mean, leaving skincare, right? And you’re kind of, you’re just launching products, you don’t really haven’t really researched it. And you know what other companies are doing what things that you can do better, like, ingredients that you can use that are like more innovative or actually work and finding your angle on that. Right. So that’s number that’s, that’s something for us as well, you’re gonna see a lot less product launches, but you’re gonna see product launches with more. More intention, more more. Yeah, more behind it like this is actually a good product. Right.

Joshua Chin 51:59

Gotcha. That makes that makes sense. And with the massive following that you have, you have absolutely no issue with testing things out and getting feedback from from your customers. And pretty quickly, too. So, Faiysal, this is the end of the podcast. But before we end, what’s your advice for people listening? If you could, I’m gonna phrase it in a different way. If you could send a push notification to every single mobile phone in the world? What would that push notification, say? Or contain?

Faiysal Kothiwala 52:38

Well, it depends. Is it for? Is it cold traffic? Or is people that already know or brand?

Joshua Chin 52:46

All of it all of it broad targeting? Like, global, right? Every single mobile phone? What would it say?

Faiysal Kothiwala 52:53

What would it say? You kind of caught me here, man.

Joshua Chin 52:57

It’s kind of like the it’s, it’s a it’s a play on the question that that Tim Ferriss often asks on his podcast. If you had a giant billboard in the middle of a height, like the busiest highway in the country, what would it say?

Faiysal Kothiwala 53:12

Well, I would say, I mean, if you’re trying to get more of the most attention, I would just say I would say something really polarizing. Something that’s polarizing and would be at the same time, it would add some sort of value to to the right. And if it’s something that’s going out to everyone, I mean, it would be more, more or less, I would try not to be, you know, trying to push my product or anything like that, I would just try to make someone laughs to tell a joke or, you know, something that pique their interest. You know, because, you know, same same approach like is that it would be something that’s like, you know, because you got to think about his long term, right? Because you send this message out and, you know, there’s, there’s, you don’t know what the interest is, right? But you want them to click like, what are you trying to do with this notification, you’re trying to get them to try to click that link and then when you get them try to get as many emails and SMSs as possible.

Joshua Chin 54:16

That’s that’s a good approach. That’s a good approach. But what if it’s non work related? What if it has nothing to do with your brand new business? And it’s just a one way message and or advice for people? One way? What would you say to the world?

Faiysal Kothiwala 54:34

I would say just keep hustling and good times are near and to keep, keep doing what you’re doing and never give up? Follow your dreams. I’m just throwing up like, punch lines. Now. I don’t know what I’ll be honest, bro. But

Joshua Chin 54:53

that that’s good. I think it comes from within,

Faiysal Kothiwala 54:58

always keeping learning um, I’m just going to keep the punch lines until this podcast ends.

Joshua Chin 55:03

That’s good. I’ll tell you why. Because that’s often a good response, right? Get Response to three to two, like what’s in your subconscious, like the inner narrative in your mind the stuff that you’re telling yourself? That’s that kind of becomes advice for people. So Faiysal, I appreciate you. Thank you for coming on the show for people listening, interested connected with you. What’s the best way to get in touch?

Faiysal Kothiwala 55:28

You can email me at Faiysal@thebeardstruggle.com. And, yeah, hey, if you’re tracking for an agency or somebody trying to contact me, make sure your email is really good, because that will delete it. And I’m probably writing that shit. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Just getting by No, definitely. If you want to reach me Faiysal@thebeardstruggle.com is going to be the easiest way. I do check my emails every day. So

Joshua Chin 55:59

perfect. Yeah, go check out thebeardstruggle.com for you guys listening. And thank you so much. We’ll talk to you guys soon. Thank you

Faiysal Kothiwala 56:08

Thank you, Josh. Thank you, everyone. Talk to you later.

Outro 56:16

Thanks for listening to the eCommerce Profits Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get notified of future episodes.

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